17 April, 2024

GLCC Meets with Accreditor to Discuss Its Financial Health

by | 26 March, 2024 | 2 comments

By Chris Moon 

Hopes are high this week at Great Lakes Christian College as it meets with its accreditor to discuss its financial condition—and possibly emerge from a painful probationary period. 

FRANK WELLER

“I’m eager, really,” said Frank Weller, president of the college in Lansing, Mich. “We’ve worked hard and accomplished a lot. This is one of those times you feel like you’re really ready, and it’s time to showcase.”  

GLCC was placed on probation by the Higher Learning Commission in November 2022 when the accrediting agency said the college lacked adequate financial resources and didn’t have a sufficient plan to deal with its financial issues. GLCC was deemed out of compliance by the accreditor.  

The school’s probationary status put it a step closer toward losing its accreditation. But Weller said GLCC doesn’t expect that to happen.  

The college has been aggressively raising money for more than a year and meticulously watching its budget. 

Weller spoke with Christian Standard in the days leading up to its visit from the HLC, which was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of this week. The purpose of the HLC representatives’ visit was to see whether GLCC had addressed the issues that led to its probation. 

Financial questions are the big ones. 

“I think that will be the No. 1 consideration the Higher Learning Commission will look at,” Weller said. 

[See President Weller’s update at the bottom of this article.]

A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE 

After landing on probation, GLCC cut the 2022-2023 budget to $4.2 million by reducing spending on athletics and by raising the cost of tuition, housing, and food. The school expects to end this year $308,000 in the black. 

The college also has been aggressively raising money from churches and individual donors.  

Weller said GLCC recently received separate gifts of $200,000 and $300,000. That’s on top of scores of smaller donations through the college’s Log Cabin Society, where 141 people have pledged to give $1,000 per year to the school for the next five years.  

In addition to that, 39 churches have donated more than $53,000 in extra giving to GLCC. Weller counts it as “a vote of confidence” from the college’s core constituents as it tries to stay alive in its mission to train-up new pastors. 

“At least 39 churches have said, ‘We’re in. We need to do that,’” Weller said. 

To prepare for this week’s visit from the HLC, Weller said, GLCC did a mock audit recently with an administrator from Johnson University who put GLCC’s executives through their paces—asking tough questions about the college. 

“There’s enough at stake here that if I make any mistake, it’s to be over-prepared,” Weller said. 

‘NO LONGER IN THE SWAMP’ 

After this week’s visit from the HLC, Great Lakes Christian College will have to play a waiting game. 

Weller said an initial report from the visit should be released in May with one of three recommendations—to return GLCC to normal standing with the HLC, to extend its probation by one year, or to take new steps toward removing its accreditation.  

Weller said he’s gotten no indication from the HLC that the last of those options is likely. He’s hoping for the first recommendation. 

“I think we’ll have a good sense of our fate in May,” he said. 

The HLC will issue a final decision on those recommendations in November.  

With all the work in bolstering its finances, Weller said, GLCC’s leaders can’t help but be optimistic. 

“We’re not quite out of the woods, but we’re no longer in the swamp. I think that’s where we’re at,” he said. “The morale here is very high.” 

Chris Moon is a pastor and writer living in Redstone, Colorado. 

_ _ _

UPDATE — Great Lakes Christian College President Frank Weller shared this update with Christian Standard on Wednesday morning (March 27):

The Higher Learning Commission Accreditors concluded their two-day visit to GLCC and we are pleased to report that the review went very well. While the college will not immediately know the outcome, the tone of the peer reviewers was overwhelmingly positive.

Peer reviewers expressed satisfaction with the college’s financial and academic trajectories. Their evaluation of the GLCC 2023-2026 Strategic Plan was encouraging. And they voiced confidence in the GLCC administration’s ability to lead the college to institutional health.

I issued the following statement late yesterday: “The peer reviewers were optimistic about the college’s progress since 2022! They complimented our faculty, staff, and students, and I am hopeful their report will recommend the Higher Learning Commission remove the college from accreditation probation.”

2 Comments

  1. Keith P Keeran

    During my work as an accreditation consultant with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools I have seen many institutions recover from probation, but I have never seen any institution put forth the effort that President Weller and his team have made to overcome what appeared to be insurmountable odds. This chapter of the GLCC story demonstrates what can be accomplished when God’s people pull together as one body united together in Christ in a mission to save the world. We will wait patiently to hear the ultimate decision from their accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, but whatever the outcome, we can be confident that Great Lakes Christian College and its stakeholders will not grow weary in well doing. Our prayers continue!!!

  2. Dr. Frank Weller

    Thank you Dr. Keeran! Your encouragement, and that of of my fellow Bible College Presidents have sustained me and our team through this challenging time. Our movement has been blessed by exceptionally good institutions of Christian higher education. Restoration Movement college presidents – active and retired – have welcomed me and provided valuable insight and wisdom. I am grateful!

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